10 crazy cocktail ingredients that came out of 2017

World Best Bar

Apr 25, 2018

Trying to remain ahead of the curve on food and drink trends is no easy feat. Who knows which radical ingredient or concept is going to make it mainstream or languish in the far reaches of 4chan obscurity? Luckily for you, we’ve decided to make things a little easier by putting together a list of the ten weirdest ingredients that graced 2017 bar menus, so that next time you find yourself deep in Hipsterville you’ll know what the hell it is that you’re actually ordering and what it should taste like. You’re welcome.

1. Kombucha

Essentially, this is sweetened tea with added yeast that’s been left to ferment for a while. Yummy. The taste is sour and a little bit fungal (hence its nickname ‘mushroom tea’) as well as being slightly effervescent. This strange brew has been knocking around for over 2000 years and can lend a unique and bittersweet tang to certain cocktails.



2. Activated Charcoal

Black is the new black with this fashionable fuel. Although spurious claims have been made about its ‘detoxification’ qualities, goth-friendly mixologists have been experimenting with its blackening abilities to create sinister-looking concoctions with much fanfare.



3. Camel’s Milk

With an increased level of vitamin C and ten times the amount of iron as regular cow’s milk, camel’s milk simply presents a better whey! This exotic lactation has been used for centuries in Arabic cultures and it’s just started to make an appearance on Western shelves. The taste is said to be sweet, smooth and with a slightly salty aftertaste. You first.



4. Pine Needles

Ouch? Maybe. Tasty? Definitely. The piney flavour of these bristles will work wonderfully with a range of mulled ciders or rye whiskeys and will give any seasonal Old Fashioned a distinctly coniferous aftertaste.


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5. Peas

Given everyone’s love for this green, spherical seed, it’s strange to think that it hasn’t been muddled before now. We already know that it goes well with mint, cucumber and citrus, so its transition from plate to glass seems like a natural evolution. Long Island Iced Pea, anyone?



6. Birch Sap

A foresty fave that’s found a fanbase amongst Scottish malt whisky lovers. Its smoky, caramel flavour works wonders with earthy, peated overtones and manages to make lovers of the Highland spirit seem even more rugged and manly. Grrr.



7. Cannabis

This counterculture herb has been eking itself into the mainstream for a few years now; especially in America, where over 29 states have moved towards legalisation of the once-illicit bud. Last year we saw the introduction of Cannavine (cannabis wine), so it was only a matter of time before bartenders jumped in on the buzz. Pass the Julep ’round the left-hand side!



8. Sriracha Bitters

Could our love for this hot Thai sauce grow any bigger? Well of course, it could, as one entrepreneurial Brooklynite proved with his invention of Sriracha bitters. Add a drop of this Southeast Asian mix to Bloody Marys, Daiquiris or any other drink that needs a bit of a kick.



9. Chia Seeds

This high-fibre health food can absorb 27x their weight in water giving whatever mix they’re in a look of frog-spawn chic. The flavour isn’t particularly potent, so this trend is more about the touted health claims, texture and aesthetic than anything else.



10. Szechuan Peppercorns

If you like the feeling of being gently electrocuted then you’ll LOVE these. This spice is big in Asian cuisine, but the peppercorn isn’t exactly what you’d traditionally call ‘spicy’; however, its lingering tingling is a feeling that you’re unlikely to forget. Paired with citrus, the buzzing sensation is intriguing and oddly enjoyable.


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Feeling bewildered or curious? A bit of both? Either way, our job is done. It’s now up to you to decide whether you want to sip out into this brave new world of cocktails or play it safe with the classics. Chin chin!


Photo by @chronvivant on Instagram

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